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CSU introduces state’s 1st collegiate aeronautics program

Staff //August 24, 2020//

CSU introduces state’s 1st collegiate aeronautics program

Staff //August 24, 2020//

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The new program will primarily use Diamond DA-40 and DA-42 aircraft for training. (Photo/Provided)Charleston Southern University will offer the state’s first collegiate aeronautics program beginning in fall of 2021.

With a forecast shortage of more than 804,000 civil aviation pilots in the next 20 years, according to a Boeing Co. market outlook, the program will help fill a global demand. It will also put South Carolina on the map as one of the last two states to offer a college-level aeronautics program.

While there are schools within the state that provide flight training — including Myrtle Beach Academy of Aviation and USAeroFlight in Greenville — CSU’s will be the only program where a student can simultaneously learn to be a pilot and earn a Bachelor of Science degree. The University of South Carolina offers an aerospace engineering program.

“The downturn in airline activity right now due to COVID-19 does not mitigate the looming pilot shortage as older pilots reach mandatory retirement age in the next few years,” CSU President Dondi Costin said in a news release. “On the other side of this pandemic, the world’s economy will demand a significant uptick in flights, so the market will need more pilots.”

The professional pilot degree will be complemented by an aviation and space management degree, an aeronautics science minor, and an aviation maintenance management technical degree, the news release said. In the fall, a three-credit-hour course that is an introduction to pilot training aeronautics also will be offered.

WillCol. Christopher “C.J.” Will is the founding chair of CSU’s new aeronautics department. In July, he retired from the Air Force — an organization that also feels the strain of the pilot shortage — and his background includes stints as an aviator, military instructor pilot and aviation attorney, the university said.

The program’s primary track will be geared toward becoming a commercial pilot, but students will eventually have the opportunity to choose a missionary or a military focus.

They’ll study aircraft operations, safety, aerodynamics and meteorology, among other classes. They’ll then earn necessary certifications and licenses, such as the Federal Aviation Administration private pilot certification and commercial license, the website said.

Flight training will be conducted each semester at Summerville Airport off Orangeburg Road or at Charleston International Airport. Students will fly in Diamond DA-20, DA-40 and DA-42 aircraft, CSU said.

“As we look to the future, Charleston Southern will maintain our presence at the leading edge of innovation and impact,” Costin said. “Our aeronautics program is a natural extension of the university’s vision of integrating faith in learning, leading and serving as we prepare servant leaders to pursue significant lives. By preparing pilots to impact their spheres of influence as commercial, military or missionary pilots, we extend our reach into every corner of the globe.”